Friday, January 31, 2014

Seoul Lantern Festival

One of the most colorful festivals in South Korea is the Lantern Festival. It showcases lanterns depicting Korean traditions and cultural landmarks. This takes place along the banks of Cheonggyecheon right at downtown Seoul. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Appreciation for Cultural Diversity

In this picture, I was wearing a hanbok. 

Me wearing a traditional Indian kurta. 

Trying baju melayu

A Feasibility Study on Setting Up a Chemical Engineering Research and Development Outsourcing Firm in the Philippines


It has been empirically proven that the implementation of Research and Development (R&D) contributes to a country’s economic development. R&D increases productivity which in turn results in economic growth. Unfortunately, R&D in the Philippines is not robust; as evidenced by the 2010 Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) of 0.12% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is by far below the UNESCO benchmark of 1% of GDP for developing countries. In terms of this indicator, the Philippines lags behind its neighbors: with Malaysia investing 0.64% and Thailand investing 0.25%.  
One of the ways to address this issue is to spur the growth of R&D in the private sector. This growth can be catalyzed by the establishment an R&D outsourcing firm.
This paper studies the feasibility of setting up a Chemical Engineering R&D outsourcing firm in the Philippines, which aims to serve the Chemical Engineering R&D requirements of large and multinational corporations. By establishing synergy with academia, the firm shall have access to subject matter experts as well as laboratory facilities. This minimizes the capital investment requirement for the firm, maximizes the utilization of the university equipment and facilities, and creates a stronger partnership between the academe and the private sector.          
This study mapped out the corporate and operations strategy of a potential R&D outsourcing firm based on analysis of the industries that rely on Chemical Engineering R&D.

To evaluate the financial viability of this firm, Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and Net Present Value (NPV) for the worst-, base-, and best-case scenarios were computed. Figures showed that a Chemical Engineering R&D outsourcing firm is a feasible business venture in the Philippines.


1) Cororaton, Caesar. “R&D Gaps in the Philippines,” PIDS Discussion Paper No. 99-16, 1999. <>, viewed July 2011.

I was presenting my MBA thesis to ADB experts during the ADB Research Forum held at ADB Headquarters in Mandaluyong City. The forum is an annual gathering of ADB scholars from around the world.  

Conservative vs. Optimum: Perspective on Process Design

In the engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance (EPCM) industry, projects are executed in several phases. Process engineering being involved in the earlier phases of execution plays a crucial role in having a successful project. As such, in every phase of project execution, it is imperative to know whether the process is to be designed conservatively or optimally. Generally, in the earlier part of project execution (conceptual, front-end-engineering design) the process is designed conservatively. In the later part (detailed or value engineering), process is designed optimally. In this paper, various process engineering activities in each phase are examined to determine whether conservative or optimum design is to prevail. As a whole, it is important to note that what is conservative is not necessarily optimum, but what is optimum is necessarily conservative. 

I was explaining to the audience what my paper is all about. This was my second time to present a paper at RSCE, this time hosted by the Royal and Pontifical University of Sto. Tomas held at Manila Hotel. 

Computational Economy in Process Engineering

Process engineering involves many calculations like simulation, vessel sizing and hydraulic calculations. These calculations often involve lengthy solutions, repetitive runs and sometimes intractable convergence. To avoid these complexities, this paper explores on the concept of "Computational Economy" to put in place calculation methodologies that would yield a practically shorter calculation time. This concept basically put emphasis on the important role of standard Excel program in calculating as well as tabulating values of various parameters. It also encourages the use of rules of thumb and concisely crafted calculation procedures. In applying this method, it is aimed that circuitous and repetitive calculations are avoided and optimal design values are obtained.

1. Aurioles, Gabriel, “Comply with ASME Code During Early Design Stages,” Chemical Engineering Progress, 94 (6), pp. 45-51 (June 1998). 
2. Branan, Carl R. (2005) Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers, 4th Ed., Oxford: Elsevier Inc. 
3. Churchill, Stuart W. (1988) “The Role of Mathematics in Heat Transfer.” American Institute of Chemical Engineers Symposium Series No. 263 Volume 84 
4. Contreras, C. Delia, William G. Kramper and Terry Swanson, “Speed Up Process Design,” Chemical Engineering Progress, 93 (11), pp. 68-72 (November 1997).
5. Kern, Donal Q. (1950) Process Heat Transfer, Tokyo: McGrawHill Book Company Inc.
6. Kister, Henry Z. (1990) Distillation Operation. New York: McGraw-Hill.
7. Ludwig, Ernest E. (1997) Applied Process Design for Chemical and Petrochemical Plants, 3rd Ed., Vol. 2, Houston: Gulf Publishing Company.
8. Mukherjee, Rajiv, “Broaden Your Heat Exchanger Design Skills,” Chemical Engineering Progress, 94 (3), pp. 35-43 (March 1998).
9. Mukherjee, Rajiv, “Effectively Design Shell-and-Tube Heat Exchangers,” Chemical Engineering Progress, 94 (2), pp. 21-37 (February 1998).
10. Schad, Ryan C., “Make the Most of Process Simulation,” Chemical Engineering Progress, 94 (1), pp. 21-27 (January 1998).
11. Schneider, Donald F., “Build a Better Process Model,” Chemical Engineering Progress, 94 (4), pp. 75-85 (April 1998). 
12. Silla, Harry (2003) Chemical Process Engineering Design and Economics, New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.
13. Williams, John A., “Optimize Distillation System Revamps,” Chemical Engineering Progress, 94 (3), pp. 23-33 (March 1998).

With Professor Mattias Selke of California State University. He's a German Professor but he loves Filipino Culture very much. He would even say that Filipino's are bright. This paper was presented during the 29th Annual Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering (PAASE) Meeting and Symposium held at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Design of Sour Water Stripping Systems


Among the vital units in a refinery is the Sulfur Recovery Unit, where elemental sulfur is recovered from gaseous hydrogen sulfide. Part of the Sulfur Recovery Unit is the Sour Water Stripping Section which would treat sour water coming from various sources around the refinery.

Sour water is basically waste water which contains H2S and NH3 and sometimes phenol which can be treated by stripping in a Sour Water Stripper to remove the H2S and NH3 content (or phenol) so that the water can be reused, further treated or discarded to sewerage if it met the required quality.

In this paper, the general approach to the design of sour water stripping section is described which involves process simulation, design and operating conditions map preparation, material selection diagram preparation, flash drum, feed tank and stripper sizing, tray and heat exchanger rating, hydraulic calculations and pump design.

As sour water treatment is very important in every refinery, it is desirable to come up with an optimal design of sour water stripping systems.


1. Beychock, Milton R. (1967) Aqueous Wastes from Petroleum and Petrochemical Plants, England: John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
2. Branan, Carl (2005) Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers. 4th Ed. USA: Elsevier.
3. Kister, Henry Z. (1990) Distillation Operation. USA: McGraw-Hill.
4. Lieberman, Norman P. And Elizabeth T. Lieberman (2003) Working Guide to Process Equipment, 2nd Ed. USA: McGraw-Hill.

This was when I presented my paper before my fellow chemical engineers. It was a magnificent experience to share to them my design experiences and learnings.

After the conference, I managed to take this picture with the panoramic Davao Gulf as background. This is at the back of Waterfront Insular Hotel. The "floating" cottage that you can see is the Pirata Bar. Tourists who are going to the Pearl Farm or Samal Island would board the boat at the end of the pier. This gulf is among the best spots in Davao City. You could have an imposing view of this gulf from Marco Polo Hotel just in downtown Davao.

Matrix-Analysis-Tabular (MAT) Method


Among the most commonly used unit operations of chemical engineering applied to industries is screening. As such, new method of treating problems in screening needs to be developed. Traditionally, problems in screening are solved involving so many material balances that make the computations tasking, clumsy and often confusing. That is why in this paper, an organized, direct and short solution is explored. This is with the use of Matrix, Data for Screen Analysis and Table. To eliminate the cumbersome manipulations in solving simultaneous equations, the concept of matrix was utilized. From the overall material balance and the screen analysis data, the variables of the equation can be determined.  Even without writing the equations, the known coefficients from overall material balance and data can be directly substituted to the expression for determinant and subsequently solving its value. Having the value of the determinant, the amounts of each fraction can be solved using Cramer's Rule. After which, all the values computed and the coefficients should be arranged in tabular form to facilitate computations of each fraction in the pure material's fraction. All the values computed are subsequently used for further computations, such as the effectiveness of the screen and its capacity. For more complicated separations that involve four to several fractions, the same principles apply, however, Laplace expansion is to be done. In this case, a vivid and thorough analysis deem necessary. This new method shortened the time of computation, economize space for the solution and eradicated added complexity. This therefore resulted to an ease of computation.


Brown, George Granger, (1950). Unit Operations. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York.

Harriott, Peter, Warren L. McCAbe and Julian Smith, (2001). Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering, 6th ed., McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York.

Olano, Servillano S.B., Jr. et al., (2000). Reviewer for Chemical Engineering Licensure Examination. Manila Review Institute Incorporated, Manila.

In this picture, I was asked by our session's moderator Prof. Dr. Analiza P. Rollon of UP Diliman during the open forum. This was my very first presentation in an international convention which was hosted by De La Salle University and held at Dusit Hotel Nikko.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Post-MBA Career: Odyssey in Korea

After my MBA at AIM, I was fortunate to be hired by a certain Korean company. I explored Korea a lot and I learned about its distinct culture, I would really say the "Soul of Asia." I had taken this picture of myself wearing a Korean king costume.

A must see place when you visit Korea is the Gyeongbok Palace, the biggest and grandest palace in Korea. It is located right at the heart of Seoul.

During my tour of Gyeongbok Palace, I learned from the volunteer tour guide (a student around 17-18 years old who volunteered as tour guide to be able to practice his English) that the picture below is the Korean king's standard. He said that the standard always follow the king behind. I find this picture a work of art and mysterious in its symbolisms. 

This is the "Changing of the Guards" ritual at Gwanghwamun, the gate of Gyeongbok Palace. It was said that this ritual dates back to the year 1469.